What languages can you speak, write, or read?

I only know English, though I did take a little French in junior high school, and some Spanish in high school. I can make some basic sentences in Spanish, understand some phrases, and can usually understand or guess the meaning of simple billboards or advertisements in Spanish. I consider myself moderately proficient at French pronunciation. For example, I can often pronounce wine names, types, or labels correctly.

Second question: Why do you have an interest in language?

I think I like language for the sound of it. Most of my language skills are in my ears. I know when something sounds right, even if I don’t know why. My biggest challenges with English are remembering certain rules of punctuation, and remembering the names and functions of the parts of speech. I suck at diagramming sentences. However, I know when something sounds confusing or poorly worded.

I love to listen to poems or audiobooks, too, especially if they are well read, and performed by a British person. I also memorize and recite poems all the time, and I think it must be for the pleasure of hearing them inside my own head once again.

I also appreciate language for its emotive qualities. I can read a sonnet by Shakespeare and be moved to tears, and I think how incredible it is that a man can write a short verse, and some 400 years later it can affect me—or anyone for that fact—to the point of tears. That is the magic of language.

Tags: bilingual, language, reading, speech, trilingual, words, writing

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Replies to This Discussion

Wonderful response, Femina.
Thank you. :)
...my native language is German, or (we really do make a difference) Austian.
...joining this group, hoping to brush up my English a little bit...oh, dont most of you use American (there´s a difference too, I guess)?
...can speak (not so easy to understand correctly) a little Italian.
...as my job affords, I can stutter a few sentences and phrases in French, Spanish, Turk(ish?) and Russian, enough to buy me a coffee or ask for the right way, but not to mention it.
...have been taught Latin in school, but forgot everything except a few quotations.
...understand Schwyzerdütsch (mostly)
...sorry, typo-demon caught me too
Austian means Austrian...
When were you at DLI? I work there now, writing DLPTs (Defense Language Proficiency Tests). I know some of the old Polish faculty. Can you remember (and say) who your teachers were?
30 years ago? Well, it's possible then that the couple was the Gajewskis; I can't remember what the husband's name was at the moment (he has passed away in the last couple years, unfortunately), but the wife's name is Suzanna (might be rendered as Zusanno in Polish). She is about ready to retire and is a good friend. I wonder whether there was a student by the name of Tucker Mansager. He was a Polish student I think around that time. He ended up being Commandant for a couple years recently.
I also love hiking around the Monterey Bay area with my family. Yosemite is great too. If you look at my page, you might see some familiar-looking pictures....
What languages can you speak, write, or read?
In addition to English, I can speak, read, and write fairly conversational Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin. I'm currently rusty in Japanese and Mandarin, but I could pick them up again with a small bit of study. I know small amounts of French and Italian and a handful of words in other languages, but I wouldn't say it's anything substantial.

Why do you have an interest in language?
I don't really know. I've always had an aptitude for picking up languages faster than most. Beyond that, I have a love for sounds and speech patterns. I drift into a foggy hypnosis while listening to the flow of sounds that I cannot understand. It sounds like a song to me. That could be due in part to my training as an actress. After listening, I have an urge to learn the language and understand! I also enjoy accents and at one point considered a career as a voice coach for stage. In addition, I find that one expands his or her knowledge of life when learning languages. Other languages have words for concepts we may not often ponder because there are no equivalent words in our native language(s). Though on top of all of this, of course, I love the idea of being able to converse with as many people as possible.
What languages can you speak, write, or read?
My mother tongue is the Belgian variety of Dutch, also known as Flemish, which I speak with an accent that is recognisable as that of the Province of East Flanders. We Flemings are taught French from the age of ten, it being the language of ‘the others down there’. At twelve, we are taught English as well, which I have always spoken in a distinctly British way. I deciphered the phonetic alphabet and forced myself to sound like an educated gent. When abroad, I like fooling people into thinking me an Englishman. I chose the option ‘Latin and modern languages’ in school and was also taught German and Spanish. When I went to university, I decided to go for ‘Germanic languages’ (one had to pick two of a family in those days).
English and German are the two languages I speak at a level comparable with Dutch, and I maintain them as well as I can. Having moved to Wallonia, I am now forced to speak French on a daily basis. And I try to appreciate it, but I shall never love the sound it — too nasal, too monotonous a syllable length, annoying intonation.
I decided to learn Scottish Gaelic for my master thesis, which I did on my own for four years; I still understand the gist of what I see written, but it is dwindling apace.
My recent interest is Danish. I took it up over a year ago by dint of courses aimed at Germans, and I find that if you speak both German and Dutch, learning Danish is really a piece of cake. I recently went to Denmark and, to my satisfaction, found myself able to engage in conversation, albeit very slowly.

Why do you have an interest in language?
I always have had one. I am terrible at mathematics, which is also my greatest frustration. I have always been fascinated by astronomy, but studying it was out of the question. Ergo, I focused upon language, wrote whensoe’er I could and bluffed my way out of everything through sheer vituperative obloquy. I am now a professional translator and must hence restrain myself in the demesne of pursuing linguistic opacity. Woe is me.
I speak English and can read French. My conversational French is not great and it has been over 20 years since I have had much occasion to use it. I have lived in Brussels and Geneva (Bruxelles et Genève)

As an aside, I remember a skit by Monty Python in which two cavemen are standing next to each other when a third walks up. He launches into an enthusiastic speech about his new invention, language, and all the great things that can be done with it. But suddenly, crestfallen, he states that, of course, he cannot be understood because he has only just invented language.

At this point, one of the other cavemen bonks him on the head and turns to the third caveman and says, in French:

"Je le tué parce-que je déteste les Anglais." (I killed him because I hate the English.)
What languages can you speak, write, or read?
Italian: speak, write, read
Portuguese: speak, write, read

I can read well in English but my grammar is not very good yet.
I also can read in Spanish and I've studied a little bit of Latin some time ago, but it was just for small texts translation, and I don't remember it very well unfortunately.

Why do you have an interest in language?
My interest has increased recently, and it probably started with formal languages. Now I'm interested in studying linguistics, but first I must improve my English knowledge before trying some linguistics book.
After that I want to learn Spanish for real, and then probably French. After that only God knows.
I read and understand only English. I had a love of words and stories from an early age. My parents read to me every day until I could read for myself. I had tons of books as a child (and still do) and loved to read above any other pastime. In college, I became interested in etymology, but couldn't quite see how to work that into a career. I ended up majoring in English, with a minor in Library Science. Now, I'm the managing editor (and sometime copy editor) of a professional psychology journal.
Question 1:

English is my native tongue, and I speak, read, and write it fluently...

I speak proficient Spanish....not fluent, but enough to hold basic conversations (I took it in high school, but went through Spanish I-IV in two years--I used the Rosetta Stone program to fill in the gaps)....and my pronunciation (if I do say so myself ^_^) is very good. It can be irritating sometimes, because I know enough to start thinking in Spanish, but not enough to do all my thinking, so I'll get stuck, and have to switch back to English (which is annoying, because I like Spanish better).

I can read Latin (with a dictionary :P), and I can read just a tiny bit of Italian (mostly because it's so close to Spanish, I can make out the similar words). French, I only know a few words of, and I never got the hang of its pronunciation.


Question 2:

Why do I love languages? Wow....let me think for a minute...

I love languages because I love words, and a language is just another collection of words that you can use to further define your expressions. That's the thing that I love about words and languages, is no two words mean the same thing. The word 'pretty' and the word 'bonita' don't mean exactly the same thing, just like 'esperar' doesn't just mean 'to hope.' It conveys a slightly different meaning, that of anticipation, of waiting and hoping for something. Of course, it can be used as 'I'm waiting for you,' but there's still more to it than just that.

And languages themselves have different feels, different auras about them. English, I find, is more direct and to the point, maybe even a little aggressive, whereas Spanish is more roundabout, and not as to the point. Italian feels like a song, as if the language was designed to be sung. French, Spanish, and Italian are all well-deserving of the title Romance Languages, for they move naturally towards romantic expressions. I mean, just listen to the many ways to say 'I love you'....te quiero, je t'aime, ti amo, ti voglio bene, te amo.....the list goes on and on, each expression carrying the slightest difference in meaning.

I can't even begin to express all the reasons I love words, though....there's so many! A large part of it is simply how they allow us to communicate in such detail our exact feelings. That's something I never understood about the people I went to school with....they'd just use words like 'fine,' 'okay,' 'whatever,' and 'meh' instead of words like 'fatigued,' 'pensive,' 'thoughtful,' 'forlorn,' 'ecstatic'--the list goes on and on! There's so many words out there, why not use them!

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