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Author Topic:   Languages
Son Goku
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 69 (631667)
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Languages
We've a lot of people here at EVC and I was just wondering what languages people can speak or have tried their hand at and what they think of these languages and their experiences with them.
I only have English and Gaelic, but want to try and learn a Romance language soon.
Edited by Son Goku, : Title for post

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Jon, posted 09-02-2011 10:29 AM Son Goku has not replied
 Message 3 by Coragyps, posted 09-02-2011 10:40 AM Son Goku has not replied
 Message 4 by New Cat's Eye, posted 09-02-2011 10:46 AM Son Goku has not replied
 Message 5 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-02-2011 11:01 AM Son Goku has replied
 Message 6 by caffeine, posted 09-02-2011 11:06 AM Son Goku has replied
 Message 10 by dwise1, posted 09-02-2011 1:36 PM Son Goku has replied
 Message 11 by Artemis Entreri, posted 09-02-2011 4:35 PM Son Goku has not replied
 Message 20 by CosmicChimp, posted 09-05-2011 1:50 PM Son Goku has not replied
 Message 57 by Possessor, posted 10-24-2011 5:56 PM Son Goku has not replied
 Message 65 by bluescat48, posted 05-03-2012 9:29 PM Son Goku has not replied

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 69 (631669)
09-02-2011 10:29 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Re: Languages
Love languages.
Can't speak any of them. I can barley right English.
Jon

Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 10:22 AM Son Goku has not replied

  
Coragyps
Member (Idle past 818 days)
Posts: 5553
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 3 of 69 (631671)
09-02-2011 10:40 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Re: Languages
I know some Spanish and German and a speck of Latin. Spanish has relatively simple rules compared to the others - and is a prettier language.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 10:22 AM Son Goku has not replied

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 69 (631672)
09-02-2011 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Re: Languages
I only know English.
I took four years of Spanish in high school in the late 90's. I can read it alright, and speak a little, but if you don't use it then you lose it. I suppose that if I woke up in Mexico, I could handle it well enough to survive. But its hard to understand people when they're talking.
I was in Montreal and could make out enough French to get a sense of what a particular sign was about, even though I didn't really know what it was saying. But, for example, chicken is 'pollo' in both spanish and french so my little bit of spanish prolly helped a lot.
The language I'm most interested in learning today is html

I thought spanish was a little limited on the number of words, and that the same word was used in place of a bunch of different words in english.
But I do like their thing with nouns comming before adjectives rather than the adjectives first like in english.
If you are hearing me describe something in english, and I go:
A big... red... juicy... apple
then you don't know what to be imagining before I get to the noun.
But if you start with the noun and then add the adjectives
An apple... big... red... juicy...
Then you can be forming the mental image as I'm describing it and I think that's an advantage.
Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 10:22 AM Son Goku has not replied

  
Bolder-dash
Member (Idle past 3713 days)
Posts: 983
From: China
Joined: 11-14-2009


Message 5 of 69 (631676)
09-02-2011 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Re: Languages
I think until one learns a second language, you can't really fully appreciate some aspects of how the brain works. For instance, I have often heard people ask bi-lingual people what language is it that they think in, or dream in. It would seem that this could have a straight forward answer, but in reality it doesn't. One can see a table and think of it as a table, or as "桌子" or as "la table" or as "テーブル"- and all will mean the same idea of a flat surface with four stems for legs on it in the persons mind-any of which can be substituted depending upon the present context one if thinking of it. Even if one learns that language as an adult, there isn't necessarily one default language one must view all things. I think that might come as a surprise to some.
I do however find it easier to quickly reference some things in one language, while others things in another. I think this becomes just habit more than a set condition.
The most interesting thing about learning a new language to me, is that the integration of the new language happens almost as a subliminal transmission after a while, without one even really being aware that they have learned it, but the knowledge is just suddenly there somehow.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 10:22 AM Son Goku has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 1:19 PM Bolder-dash has replied

  
caffeine
Member (Idle past 1108 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 6 of 69 (631677)
09-02-2011 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Re: Languages
I'm a native English speaker, and I'm learning Czech. It's a lovely language - Slavic languages usually sound horrible to me because of all the whiny, nasally 'nyeh-nyeh-nyeh' type sounds, but one of the things that Czech has picked up from centuries of living in the political and cultural shadow of German-speakers is a much more hard, clipped sound, which I far prefer. It's a very difficult language, though. There are seven cases and four genders, which means (taking into account singular and plural) fourteen ways of declining each noun and 56 ways of declening each adjective (lots of them are repeats, but the fact that 'eny' is the nominative and accusative plural as well as the genitive singular just makes sentences harder to understand.
I also just began attempting to learn Dutch, which has a much simpler vocabulary and grammar (for an English speaker), but which for some reason I'm incapable of pronouncing. I'm putting it down to lack of familiarity

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 10:22 AM Son Goku has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 12:52 PM caffeine has replied

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 8593
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 7 of 69 (631680)
09-02-2011 11:49 AM


In my younger days I was a language maven, but you need to keep up with these things to stay proficient and I have not done so.
Other than my native English I used to be quite the wiz at COBOL-74, Fortran-4 and 360- and 370-Assembler. I got into PL-1 for a while then a lot of C and the various x86 assemblers. Trailed off after that and lost most of my syntax skills since. I can still converse in a mean Visual Basic, though.

  
Son Goku
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 69 (631691)
09-02-2011 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by caffeine
09-02-2011 11:06 AM


Re: Languages
caffeine writes:
There are seven cases and four genders, which means (taking into account singular and plural) fourteen ways of declining each noun and 56 ways of declening each adjective (lots of them are repeats, but the fact that 'eny' is the nominative and accusative plural as well as the genitive singular just makes sentences harder to understand.
Holy Fuck, 56 forms for the adjectives! That must be very difficult. How sensitive are native speakers to incorrect case inflection? In Gaelic people getting the genitive plural wrong is barely noticeable, and the genitive singular done incorrectly just seems a bit off, but I know there are languages where people don't have a clue what you are saying when you get them wrong, so what's Czech like?
What are the four genders, is it some sort of animate/inanimate thing?
Oh, are the sounds as difficult as people say?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by caffeine, posted 09-02-2011 11:06 AM caffeine has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by caffeine, posted 09-05-2011 8:22 AM Son Goku has replied

  
Son Goku
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 69 (631695)
09-02-2011 1:19 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Bolder-dash
09-02-2011 11:01 AM


Re: Languages
What languages can you speak Boulder-dash, I assume Chinese and English? Speaking a tonal language must be quite different. (Or maybe it's your native language)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-02-2011 11:01 AM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5973
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 10 of 69 (631699)
09-02-2011 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Re: Languages
I started college as a foreign language student, earning a BA German, before switching to computer languages. I had tried Spanish in 7th grade without success, but immediately took to German in high school and continued on in college with what I was good at. Turns out that I don't really have an ear for languages, but I love to dig into what makes things work so my mind had a field day with languages' structure. My ex is Mexican, having grown up with Spanish and English, and was a French major when I met her and she also took some German and Russian. She learned by ear, so a couple decades later with no practice, she would have forgotten something whereas with my knowledge of the grammar I was able to reconstruct it.
My own language list:
1. English -- Grew up with it, still live where it's barely predominant (my So Calif hometown is now predominantly Mexican; you know when you've crossed into it by the billboards and store signs in Spanish)
2. German -- About 8 years in school. Worked two summers ('73 and '74) in the Black Forest area, which ironically is where my great-great-grandfather and the source of the family name was from. There's a German shopping center in L.A. which had a cinema when I was in school, so I watched a lot of movies there, but it's no longer there. Have never had much opportunity to use the language here and it's depressing how most of the German movies on Netflix are about the Hitlerzeit.
3. French -- 2 years in college. I got by OK in Paris and Brussels and can half-way follow the French movies I watch.
4. Spanish -- Nearly 30 years OJT during my marriage, though mostly at my in-laws' because my ex didn't have the patience for me to learn it in the home. When we visited family in Mexico City, I got by alright. 7 years post-divorce, I still slip into Spanish in casual conversation.
5. Russian -- 2 years in college. Interesting grammar, but I didn't take to it very well. I can still say a few things and catch a word here and there when it's spoken. And when I was in a Russian store in San Francisco with our XO and a fellow chief, I shocked them by exchanging a few sentences in Russian with the salesperson.
6, 7, 8. Latin, Greek, Hebrew -- one year each in college.
9. Welsh -- a couple months in a weekly informal seminar.
10. Old English -- one semester seminar.
11. Japanese -- Aikido and self-study. For three decades afterwards, I would still count off in Japanese for calesthenics.
12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Dutch, Gidhlig, Norwegian, Italian, Klingon. Short attempts at self-study, most out of curiosity though the Gidhlig is because of my Scottish ancestry. Couldn't get very far with it, though, since none of the books do a proper job of providing pronounciation. And the Norwegian was because a friend was considering a job offer that would have her moving to Norway; she decided against when she learned that they don't have any Trader Joe's stores there.
All that we can really say from that list is that I know something about 15 human languages. I'm most proficient, in descending order, with English, German, Spanish, and French. Though most of my use of those languages is in watching movies and TV and reading sites on the Web. And I can decipher Dutch mainly from my German and Italian from both French and Spanish.
A couple centuries ago, Lessing wrote: Man kennt die eigene Sprache nicht bis man eine fremde lernt. (You don't know your own language until you learn a foreign one.) What I found early on was that I learned more about English in two years of high school German than I ever did in 12 years of English classes. A language's grammar is the key to how it works and how to use it, but we don't appreciate that until we start to learn a foreign language.
In my first summer in Germany, I switched over to thinking in German, even recalling past events that had been in English but now cast to German. And after I returned, I would switch between thinking in German and thinking in English. Furthermore, I found that there was a difference at the pre-verbal level between thinking in the different languages. A pet theory among us language students was that language shapes how we think. This also came up recently when a co-worker told me of a friend with a deaf child who was fighting against having her go through the deaf curriculum in which she'd be instructed in sign. When they learn sign, they learn language as separate symbols with no grammar, no structure, and that affects their writing ability and their communication skills, which shows up now that they can text on their phones. Yes, there's exact signing that includes signing of grammatical endings, but the kids aren't taught that because they don't have the spoken English to model it on.
About two decades after my foreign language student years, something suddenly occurred to me. Related languages have a number of words in common, cognates, which come in rather handy for learning the new vocabulary. Now, English and German are closely related to each other, given that the original language, Old English, was the language of the Angles and Saxons, German tribes who settled in Britain. This close relationship really comes through in the verb system, which is very unlike the French and Spanish verb systems (which are themselves very similar to each other). And yet, it occurred to me that for many words the German word is completely unrelated to the English. The reason for this is, of course, the Norman Conquest which turned English into a blend of Anglo-Saxon and French -- ironically, the Normans themselves were Vikings who settled in the north of France and lost their own language. When we then consider French and even Spanish cognates, we find a much higher count, which makes learning French and Spanish vocabulary much easier for an English speaker than learning German vocabulary.
I heard a professor give the sizes of different languages' vocabularies:
quote:
English -- 616,000
German -- 185,000
Russian -- 130,000
French -- 100,000
He also noted that English adds about 5000 new words each year. And that only about 25% of English vocabulary comes from Anglo-Saxon roots.
Quotes:
English is the results of the efforts of Norman men-at-arms to make dates with Saxon barmaids in the 9th century.
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Son Goku, posted 09-02-2011 10:22 AM Son Goku has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Son Goku, posted 09-03-2011 2:39 PM dwise1 has replied

  
Artemis Entreri 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4312 days)
Posts: 1194
From: Northern Virginia
Joined: 07-08-2008


Message 11 of 69 (631720)
09-02-2011 4:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-02-2011 10:22 AM


Re: Languages
I always wanted to learn Espanol, but I think I may be too old. I was in Costa Rica 10 years ago for a few weeks, and there is nothing like immersion to kick start a new language, I was picking up Espanol quickly, but I don't think I could learn it out of a book or classroom setting, I think it would be much easier to learn it "en la calle" (in the street). The pronunciation is so easy I think I could learn to read it by simply pronouncing the words from the text. The most interesting thing about the language to me is the different sounds, and "accents" you hear from various speakers, From Mexicanos, to Puerto Ricans, to Cubanos, to Ticos, Dominicans, to Spaniards, to Salvaldorans. For instance all I knew growing up was Mexicanos, so when I was in Costa Rica, the Ticos asked me why I speak spanish like a Mexicano. They knew I was a gringo from the USA, they thought it was really funny. That was the Espanol that I heard, and the way I heard it pronounced. "Es me gente!?!" lol. Mexicanos tend to use a lot of slang so its hard to know if you are learning the correct Espanol or not.
Back in the 1990s I was proficient with Ebonics. not so much anymore, but I can understand most of it.
I am fascinated by Jamaican Patois, but it makes little sense to me.

This message is a reply to:
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 Message 12 by fearandloathing, posted 09-02-2011 4:52 PM Artemis Entreri has replied

  
fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 4228 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 12 of 69 (631724)
09-02-2011 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Artemis Entreri
09-02-2011 4:35 PM


Re: Languages
I have found that the Spanish I learned in HS is much different then the Spanish that is spoken in Mexico. I have a cousin who is from Venezuela and he speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English. He has told me that Mexican Spanish is much different with the use of slang, exactly like you said. If you look at British slang compared to slang used in USA it is easy to understand how one might not understand or misinterpret what is being said to them based on which version of the language they learned as a non-native speaker or even if you are speaking the same language... "needs a good rogering" might not make sense to most Americans.

"No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten."
Hunter S. Thompson
Ad astra per aspera
Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Artemis Entreri, posted 09-02-2011 4:35 PM Artemis Entreri has replied

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 Message 13 by Artemis Entreri, posted 09-02-2011 5:36 PM fearandloathing has replied

  
Artemis Entreri 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4312 days)
Posts: 1194
From: Northern Virginia
Joined: 07-08-2008


Message 13 of 69 (631736)
09-02-2011 5:36 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by fearandloathing
09-02-2011 4:52 PM


Re: Languages
I have no idea what "needs a good rogering" means unless it mean Roger needs to get over here and do his thing.
back 2006 I worked for a company, and for some reason the IT department was two former Brits (who were now Americans); one of the mangers was named Randy, and they always had a good laugh when he was around or if anyone had to "go get Randy" to help on the job. It was a long time before they explained what "randy" meant, and why it was so funny.
From my perspective British people speak to fast, I am sure some of the posters here would be difficult for me to understand if I could hear them speaking. I like the USA Southern slow-talk. The even crazier thing about the British is the dialects. They are like completely different languages in themselves. I had a Professor in college from the UK, and she could speak this dialect, that was completely foreign. I understood what she said but it made no sense to me. And she was always conning freshmen into trying some delicious (yeah right) Marmite and toast. ugh!
as for the spanish its completely true, and the use of completely different words to describe things also happens. I have a friend who worked for the NIH out here, and he learned Spanish in Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, but he had a Basque Co-worker from Spain, and they would have to stop mid sentence sometimes, because while both spoke Spanish, there were always words (usually nouns) that one or the other did not understand. I think one word was Shrimp. which on this side of the pond is camarn, but in Castilian it was the word for tadpole (renacuajo), and they had another word for tadpole in Spain. I think it arose when the guy from Spain said he was in the mood for shrimp for dinner, but the guy who spoke western hemisphere Spanish heard tadpoles for dinner.
i dunno I wish i could learn another language. I looked up classes, as NOVA is very diverse, but it was really expensive, I'd rather hang out in el barrio, and listen.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by fearandloathing, posted 09-02-2011 4:52 PM fearandloathing has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by fearandloathing, posted 09-02-2011 5:47 PM Artemis Entreri has replied

  
fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 4228 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 14 of 69 (631739)
09-02-2011 5:47 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Artemis Entreri
09-02-2011 5:36 PM


Re: Languages
I have no idea what "needs a good rogering" means
I am sure one of our British friends will fill you in. (hint...needs a good f@#$ing).
I work in construction and deal with mostly Spanish speakers and it amazes me how diverse the use of Spanish is in central/south America.
My grandmother was French Canadian and the version of french she spoke was different from what I learned also.

"No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten."
Hunter S. Thompson
Ad astra per aspera
Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Artemis Entreri, posted 09-02-2011 5:36 PM Artemis Entreri has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Artemis Entreri, posted 09-02-2011 6:05 PM fearandloathing has seen this message but not replied

  
Artemis Entreri 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4312 days)
Posts: 1194
From: Northern Virginia
Joined: 07-08-2008


Message 15 of 69 (631744)
09-02-2011 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by fearandloathing
09-02-2011 5:47 PM


Re: Languages
well the Spanish conquered a huge range from Canada to Chile, and there were many natives to mix with and alter the language with.
The Mexicans are the closest to us and therefore the more familiar in certain regions (its odd there aren't many around here, most up here are Salvadoran). but take the word Meixco. That is a nahuatl (Aztec) word, not a Spanish one. in Spanish its Meh-hee-co, but in its native its Meh-she-co. you think the Spanish came up with a name like Oaxaca?
heck some of the Aztec words even made it into English like: coyote, avocado, chili, tomato, and chocolate.
But go further south to Maya or Incan lands, and it would seem logical that those words would be much different.

This message is a reply to:
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