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Thread: How many languages do you speak?

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    United States Avalon Member Maknocktomb's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Reading and playing music is also a language. Mathematics is a language.

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    Thailand Avalon Member palehorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by Strat (here)
    Quote Posted by Marbelo (here)
    In Portugal I saw the difference between the Portuguese of Brazil and that of our colonizers.
    From what I understand Spain and Mexico have this same dynamic. Is this true or am I wrong?

    They are different, by the way Spanish from Paraguay is the weirdest one I ever heard. I myself speak/read/write English, Portuguese and Spanish and speak Thai but I also have a good understand of Italian (closest language to Portuguese).

    In Lisbon for example the Portuguese are not the same as in Sao Paulo but it is possible to hold a descent conversation, I lived in Brazil and my Portuguese from Lisbon was more than enough, there is difference but nothing that you can't deal with (except Slang or unique local terms). I learned my Spanish in Spain when I was a kid (still remember despite not speaking much nowadays), when I went to south America I found out that it is very very different from places like Bolivia and Peru.

    The Portuguese in Mozambique and other African countries are also different from the Portuguese in Portugal, Taiwan (once called Ilha Formosa) also has Portuguese speakers, and they speak great Portuguese, ask for directions for any taxi driver and you will be amazed how skilled these people are in terms of language.

    I also learn at basic level to speak Portuguese Creole (Portugues Crioulo), which is spoken in parts of Africa like Guine Bissau, São Tomé, Congo also there are pockets of speakers in India and Sri Lanka (indo-Portuguese), there is also pockets in Macau, Hong Kong and China mainland, in Malaysia there is what they call Kristang which is a mixture of Portuguese Crioulo and Malay and they still speaking this languages in the Mallaca region (Portugues di Melaka), believe me or not they speak this sort of Portuguese in west Australia-Perth and Singapore (small communities of old natives - the entire community of Kristang world wide may be about 2.000 speakers and decreasing).

    In Africa there is French and English based creole languages as well, in my point of view they are all compounded and derived from the original languages and the first records of these creoules languages start in the 15/16/17th centuries, but only in the 19th century they had real evidence of the written language.

    English in Asia is not the same as English in Europe or North America. All languages change their phonetics depending on the region and people speaking it.

    The entire world has so many languages and dialects that it is very hard to count if not impossible, if I remember it is something like 7.000 documented languages, my grand mother-in-law she was from a country that do not exist anymore, it was called Kingdom of Mon (Myanmar today), even in the time the British colonialism in Burma throughout the nationalist period, Japanese occupation and the modern era (formation of the Union of Myanmar - post second war) all Mon people still Mon speakers and most of them immigrated to the time called Siam (Thailand) and other areas like Laos and Khmer (today Camboja), they even went far away and end up in US, they were been executed by the "government" and forced to live Burma, but the culture survived as the language, I know quite a few Mon people, my wife is half Mon and half Thai and she speaks a little bit of Mon, my kid is 25% Mon

    Languages are a very interesting subject to explore, I myself do not feel like I am a good learner in terms of language, I speak 3 languages because it was necessary to learn them, it was never a hobby or just desire to learn, today I am learning "slowly" the Thai language because it is necessary in order to have a better quality of life in the country I am living as guest.

    Thanks for the thread.
    --
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    Thailand Avalon Member Iancorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    I speak Thai, French and English fluently (Speaking Reading Writing). I have a decent command of German. Basic Japanese and Northern Thai Lanna dialect.

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    Thailand Avalon Member palehorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by Iancorgi (here)
    I speak Thai, French and English fluently (Speaking Reading Writing). I have a decent command of German. Basic Japanese and Northern Thai Lanna dialect.
    Hi lancorgi sabaidee mai? This is very nice, I still struggling to learn Thai, but I am not really engaged on it, not yet. For the next year I will look to improve my Thai skills if time allow me. Sometimes I feel if I could speak more or even read some Thai, life quality would improve, since I live surrounded by Thais at some point I will be forced to at least speak it fluently.

    If you don't mind me asking, how did you become fluently in Thai?

    Last edited by palehorse; 20th January 2021 at 07:46.
    --
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  9. Link to Post #25
    Thailand Avalon Member Iancorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by palehorse (here)
    Quote Posted by Iancorgi (here)
    I speak Thai, French and English fluently (Speaking Reading Writing). I have a decent command of German. Basic Japanese and Northern Thai Lanna dialect.
    Hi lancorgi sabaidee mai? This is very nice, I still struggling to learn Thai, but I am not really engaged on it, not yet. For the next year I will look to improve my Thai skills if time allow me. Sometimes I feel if I could speak more or even read some Thai, life quality would improve, since I live surrounded by Thais at some point I will be forced to at least speak it fluently.

    If you don't mind me asking, how did you become fluently in Thai?


    Sawadi Krap Khun Palehorse,

    I first visited Thailand in 1992 and after living a few years in Japan I finally decided to settle in Bangkok and then Chiangmai for good.

    I quickly learned a few words and a some commonly used sentences so i could have basic interactions with the locals in my daily life. After about five years of this routine I became quite conversational but the tipping point to become fully fluent has been learning the alphabet, reading and writing a diary....it took a good six months of daily practice (2hours) to be able to read the newspaper and write a simple email. So far it's been the most intellectually challenging thing I have ever done in my life so it really takes a lot of motivation.

    I have a Thai family (wife, children...) and we communicate almost exclusively in Thai so it a lot easier to learn a language this way (total immersion)

    I see a lot of long term expats farangs who can't speak much Thai but they are hanging out with other farangs and not really trying hard enough to master the language but as you said if you don't speak Thai you'll never fully understand the culture.

    My advice would be to start from a blank slate. Do not try to rely much on your native language in your studies, the "grammar" and syntax are almost completley different from western languages it's almost like learning an alien language. Also, start by learning the alphabet it's hard but in the long run it will make everything much easier.

    I found these traditionnal children books to be very useful in my studies and they also help you learning about the Thai culture. First you have to learn the alphabet and then you can start reading the first booklet (Thai language for Grade 1) of the collection:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p2hk4vj5a...e-mana-1-1.pdf


    โชคดี ครับ

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    United States Moderator Deborah (ahamkara)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    To those who can fluently speak multiple languages- does your perspective shift depending on the language?

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    Scotland Avalon Member scotslad's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    I speak 3 - English, Scottish & Rubbish

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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by Deborah (ahamkara) (here)
    To those who can fluently speak multiple languages- does your perspective shift depending on the language?
    Many years ago I took an Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Class. I was told that the people who were most successful in the class were monolingual - they didn't really speak another language, and the least successful knew four or more languages well.

    I guess one could have a lot of theoretical explanations for this. Mine is that language is connected to your neural processes. Change the language you are thinking in and you have to start thinking differently. Your brain has to function in different ways. Because monolingual people have just that one process, they really excel at it and pick up the speed.

    Which reminds me, yes, I have another language - music. It really is a neural process too - like language, you listen to it, you read it, you "speak" it (in my case, through my fingers on a keyboard.)

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    United States Avalon Member TargeT's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    I can barely manage the one accurately... no way I'm taking on more!
    Hard times create strong men, Strong men create good times, Good times create weak men, Weak men create hard times.
    Where are you?

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    Thailand Avalon Member palehorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by Iancorgi (here)
    Quote Posted by palehorse (here)
    Quote Posted by Iancorgi (here)
    I speak Thai, French and English fluently (Speaking Reading Writing). I have a decent command of German. Basic Japanese and Northern Thai Lanna dialect.
    Hi lancorgi sabaidee mai? This is very nice, I still struggling to learn Thai, but I am not really engaged on it, not yet. For the next year I will look to improve my Thai skills if time allow me. Sometimes I feel if I could speak more or even read some Thai, life quality would improve, since I live surrounded by Thais at some point I will be forced to at least speak it fluently.

    If you don't mind me asking, how did you become fluently in Thai?


    Sawadi Krap Khun Palehorse,

    I first visited Thailand in 1992 and after living a few years in Japan I finally decided to settle in Bangkok and then Chiangmai for good.

    I quickly learned a few words and a some commonly used sentences so i could have basic interactions with the locals in my daily life. After about five years of this routine I became quite conversational but the tipping point to become fully fluent has been learning the alphabet, reading and writing a diary....it took a good six months of daily practice (2hours) to be able to read the newspaper and write a simple email. So far it's been the most intellectually challenging thing I have ever done in my life so it really takes a lot of motivation.

    I have a Thai family (wife, children...) and we communicate almost exclusively in Thai so it a lot easier to learn a language this way (total immersion)

    I see a lot of long term expats farangs who can't speak much Thai but they are hanging out with other farangs and not really trying hard enough to master the language but as you said if you don't speak Thai you'll never fully understand the culture.

    My advice would be to start from a blank slate. Do not try to rely much on your native language in your studies, the "grammar" and syntax are almost completley different from western languages it's almost like learning an alien language. Also, start by learning the alphabet it's hard but in the long run it will make everything much easier.

    I found these traditionnal children books to be very useful in my studies and they also help you learning about the Thai culture. First you have to learn the alphabet and then you can start reading the first booklet (Thai language for Grade 1) of the collection:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p2hk4vj5a...e-mana-1-1.pdf


    โชคดี ครับ
    Thank you Lancorgi for all the tips and the book, I wish my wife speak more Thai with me, but we both, actually we are in 3 and we speak mostly English and Portuguese most part of the time.
    I agree it is almost an Alien language, my first attempt many years ago I learned the basics and since then I've been surviving with what I got, but now is time for an serious upgrade, thank you again for the book, I realized that you're right about that, I started it all wrong trying to speak right away without knowing the grammar.

    Sawadee Krap Khun.
    --
    A chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason.

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    United States Moderator Karen (Geophyz)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by Deborah (ahamkara) (here)
    To those who can fluently speak multiple languages- does your perspective shift depending on the language?
    Yes, most definitely! For me it also shifts depending on the country I am in.

    I speak English, Spanish and Italian. Learning some Chinese.
    "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” William Blake

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    Germany Avalon Member Open Minded Dude's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by ExomatrixTV (here)
    When I was young I watched (almost) all "Die Sendung mit der Maus" high quality educational programs for German school-children. No Dutch subtitles no English ... just raw German
    I loved watching the "Maus" too. Brings back nice memories.

    (Yeah, not surprising this comes from a man with a Cat avatar, I know )

    Next to German I of course do English, Spanish (mediocre in speaking but very good in reading) and remember some rudimentary French from my school days.
    Last edited by Open Minded Dude; 20th January 2021 at 17:56.

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    Netherlands Avalon Member Deneon's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    I speak Dutch, English, German and a little bit of French.

    I believe learning a new language is one of the more gratifying things you can do for yourself. However it's so much harder now compared to when I was a little bit younger. I've tried Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Arabic at different points in the past few years (depending on travels), but I would say that I don't even have the basics covered in any of those.

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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote To those who can fluently speak multiple languages- does your perspective shift depending on the language?
    Sort of. Especially with Chinese, there are words for things in Chinese that there aren't in English and vice-versa.

    There are two things related to this that are interesting:
    1) When I was on exchange (in those days American college students could not go to China so I was in Taiwan), I remember having dreams in a language I did not speak (Taiwanese) but heard all the time during the day. I related the things said in the dreams and they were real Taiwanese, so your brain learns even when you aren't trying.

    2) When I relate a story of something that happened in one language to someone in the other, all the conversations get translated effortlessly, probably because they aren't stored in the mind in any particular language. So I'll relate about when the Zhaoguan (military officer for the college dorm hall, the country was under martial law) showed up early Saturday morning and said, "Get dressed and come downstairs right away!" He didn't say that, he said 穿衣,馬上下來!but if I'm speaking English telling the story, I don't notice that, it just comes out in English.

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    United States Moderator Deborah (ahamkara)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Thank you to all of those who are posting here. As a retired teacher I was always puzzled by the refusal of public schools to effectively teach a second language to the majority of American students. I feel they purposefully kept most monolingual to more easily program and control their thought processes.

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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Learning a second language before puberty increases grade point average in succeeding schooling and provides a higher earned income average after schooling. When puberty arrives the brain switches to one predominant side, making the conceptual imagery and the coordination of vocalizing more difficult.

    I was assigned a solo project in the summer between junior and senior high school years during my summer employment stints for a school district I attended. I went thru elementary and junior high grades for every school and found that those who spoke a second language proficiently, averaged a full one and one half grade higher than the average. This also applied to the children whose parents moved often for their careers, as in the military.

    Those unending, long, wide, paper printouts of green and white stripes were the most mind numbing exercises in patience I ever endured, but I somehow adapted and presented a report that the district took heed of. I was told the proofs helped the district implement teaching a second language in SoCal elementary schools. It was too late for me, but my younger brothers and sisters are fluent in at least 2, and in some cases 3, languages as they were taught the 2nd language in elementary school. It also made it easier for 3 of them to learn a 3rd language in early adulthood.

    Though I love language and created a phonetic transliteration method for sacred languages some years ago, I would have benefitted greatly if the learning had been there earlier.
    Last edited by Hym; 21st January 2021 at 00:42.

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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    I speak fluently German, Croatian, English, Swabian (German dialect), Bosnian, Serbian (cyrillic alphabet) and understand god other Slavic people , Slovenian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Cech- Slovakian, Polish, Russian and a little bit of Italian and Spanish.

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    Finland Avalon Member muxfolder's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Finnish, English, Swedish, some German and little bit of French. I've been lately thinking of learning Spanish or more French, which I only took one course and that was 20 years ago.

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    Spain Avalon Member I am B's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    I speak catalan and spanish as mother tongues (which i don't remember learning), french, english, chinese and some basic russian.

    I think that being brought up learning languages exponentially makes the learning of the rest easier, which is even more amplified if its done at a young age. Specially if they belong to the same root. I learnt french through speaking catalan (which is preety similar) to my french and belge friends during holidays.

    A language does give you great insight into the mindset of different cultures, making it way way easier to understand it, breaking some "prejudices" or false impressions you may get (for good or ill), and does also show the same of your own culture when you stop to compare. ^^

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    United States Moderator Karen (Geophyz)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How many languages do you speak?

    Quote Posted by Anka (here)
    From what I know, most Europeans know a language or two, and we generally understand each other, especially in direct contact with the interlocutor, indeed, as you said Strat, "something" is triggered and you can at least understand what you are told, more , you hear yourself having a conversation in that language. I think it's fun and natural.

    I worked in Europe and learned several languages.
    Latin has a certain scientific-cultural-linguistic importance and is a good root for study in general.
    In school, I learned French and Russian, then because of jobs in the European community, I had to learn German in a maximum of two weeks and it was not easy, but I learned 2000 words and 400 expressions, doing just that in each day, thinking I could do this with any language ... less complicated.
    For example, I understand everything in Spanish, but I couldn't bring "the words into speech", at least not immediately. I probably can't learn some languages.

    Italian (being close to my native language) I had to speak it without studying it. I must admit, that Italians are very happy to speak, so I left home in the evening speaking my native language and arrived in Italy in the morning where a a group of people asked me questions in Italian and especially those related to medicine, and I still don't know how I managed to get used to it more and more with every minute passed. I think that when "you're there in the field, alone" with speakers of foreign languages, intonation, gestures and human nature of contact, matter a lot for everything is a kind of "chain reaction" that you have to learn "hard quickly".

    A fun thing about what you said Strat: "You learn two and you get the third", I suffered too. For example, in Vienna (Austria, Europe) German is not spoken at all, and in such a small country they have as many different dialects as there are counties.

    If you know German, you have to hear how Austrian is spoken, it's really a blast to be able to adapt, but my luck was that they still understand German, it took me 18 days to learn the dialect just so I could fully understand.
    In short, with all due respect to their history, I can say that in a country like Austria, communication is not the problem, rather the dialect which together with the tonality used, "detonated" my intuition, but, intending to work again in the near future there, I am glad that all citizens are actually learning the German Language in schools...
    So, personally, I'm happy for that, especially since I used google translate to write this

    And Strat, I'm sorry, I can't help... but I send you something I always laugh at ( 22 seconds):

    I Know a Little German

    I try to think in Italian! I have no one close to speak it with, but I do call my brother regularly and we speak in Italian. One should never let their native language be forgotten.
    "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” William Blake

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